Sometimes I encourage neighbors to get out more often. A comment I often hear from Berkshire families is that taking everyone on a museum adventure can be very costly, and they have a point. But the other thing that I hear even more often is how wonderful it is to save a buck or two because “every little bit helps.” Perhaps everyone can meet in the middle.
It’s now possible to experience one, two, or three Pittsfield museums — Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshire Museum, and Herman Melville’s Arrowhead — at a discount this summer. The three well-known Berkshire destinations have joined forces to offer a new discount admission program. You start by visiting any of the three venues and purchasing a full-price adult general admission ticket to be eligible for a discount good for $3 off an adult ticket at the other two museums. Children’s tickets are already discounted.
The admission receipt from the first museum will serve as the discount coupon at the other participating museums. The discount will be valid for seven days from the date on the receipt and may not be combined with any other discount. The One, Two, Three Discount Program will be available from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.
While the three destinations offer different kinds of museum experiences, all three destinations are family-friendly and complement one another, reflecting the unique Berkshire community of which they are all part. Hancock Shaker Village is an historic outdoor museum on the site of a once-thriving Shaker community; Arrowhead is a restored house museum, the one-time home of iconic American author Herman Melville; and Berkshire Museum is a general interest museum founded more than a century ago and featuring exhibitions of natural science, art, and history.
The three historic sites are an easy distance from one another; from Hancock Shaker Village, the furthest west, it’s less than five miles to the Berkshire Museum in downtown Pittsfield, and from there it’s only 3 miles to Arrowhead.Hancock Shaker Village is an outdoor living history museum where visitors experience 18 historic buildings, heirloom medicinal and vegetable gardens, and 22,000 examples of Shaker furniture, crafts, tools, and clothes that depict daily life at the Shakers’ City of Peace through its 220 years, as well as heritage breed farm animals and scenic hiking trails. Hancock Shaker Village’s 2012/2013 exhibit, A Promising Venture: Shaker Photographs from the WPA, will be on display in the HSV Visitors Center beginning May 26. A Promising Venture features the work of Noel Vicentini, who was hired as part of the Federal Art Project in 1936 to document the uniquely American design aesthetic of the Shakers.
Tours, craft and cooking demonstrations, lectures and workshops, and a variety of activities for children and families are offered daily. Shop at the Museum Store and enjoy Shaker-inspired cuisine at the Village Harvest Café. Hancock Shaker Village, located on Route 20 at the intersection with Route 41, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through June 30, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from July 1 to October 28. For more information, visit www.hancockshakervillage.org or call 413.443.0188.Arrowhead is the home of iconic American author Herman Melville (1819-1891), who wrote Moby-Dick while he lived in Pittsfield with his family, inspired, it is said, by the view of Mount Greylock, visible from his study window. The farmhouse at 780 Holmes Road, built in 1796, is a National Historic Landmark, preserved and interpreted by the Berkshire Historical Society, and open to the public from Memorial Day through October 10. Among the many Melville family possessions that can be seen at Arrowhead are Melville’s desk and eyeglasses; the Melvilles lived at Arrowhead for 12 years, from 1850 to 1862. Herman Melville sold the house to his brother Alan in 1863, and it remained in the Melville family until 1927. A life-size straw sculpture, Ahab and the Whale, by Michael Melle, will be on view, part of the “Call Me Melville” festival taking place in Pittsfield all summer. The exhibition So Far From Home: Whalers and Whaler Art, opens June 16.
Arrowhead is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, with tours of the house given hourly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about Arrowhead and the Berkshire Historical Society, visit www.mobydick.org or call 413.442.1793.Berkshire Museum is the first public museum in Berkshire County, established by Zenas Crane in 1903 as a museum of art and natural history. Learn about birds, from the flightless ostrich to the tiny hummingbird, in Taking Flight: Audubon and the World of Birds, which features more than thirty prints from Audubon’s masterwork, The Birds of America, and is on view through June 17. The Big Picture: Berkshire Museum Camera Club 75th Anniversary Exhibition will be on view June 14 through September 16, 2012. Liz Whitney Quisgard: Kaleidoscope will be on view May 24 through October 21, 2012. Rethink! American Indian Art at Berkshire Museum will be on view July 12 through January 6, 2012. The Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation offers insight into the many inventions and advances of Berkshire residents, from the Shakers to motion picture wizard Douglas Trumbull to artist Tom Patti, and the aquarium is home to a living coral reef, tropical fish, turtles, frogs, and snakes. The Alexander Calder Gallery, Hudson River School, Worlds in Miniature, and other exhibits are ongoing.
The Museum, located at 39 South Street in downtown Pittsfield, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.berkshiremuseum.org or call 413.443.7171.